110 Dirty Bomb

 We’re talking radiological dispersion …

Summary: A cargo of nuclear waste is is hijacked and Don’s team needs to find it before the hijackers detonate it in LA.

Original air date
: April 22, 2005 (US)

Written by: Andrew Dettman

Directed by:  Paris Barclay

Opening numbers:

500g: Nuclear material
20 kg: Explosive
400: Threats
1: Dirty bomb

Family Concepts: (character development)
  • Don drinks tea
  • Don’s Chevy is equipped with lights and sirens

Episode Synopsis:

A truck carrying three casks of nuclear waste for disposal is missing along with the driver.  Interviews with the follow car crew indicates the driver, Ray Sykes might have hijacked his own truck; there has also been a large deposit made in his bank account.  An interview with his wife reveals he was in contact supposedly with a protest group wanting to know his route in order to block the road.  Sykes wife doesn’t think he would be involved in anything that would hurt other people and she is later proven right when Sykes body is found.

The FBI receives a warning call that the truck was hijacked for the waste in order to build a dirty bomb; the caller makes a demand for money and hangs up.  Charlie and Larry try to figure out the best place to detonate such a bomb in the LA area where it could do the most damage. Alan finds the two of them in the garage; when Larry spills what they are working on, Alan becomes mad that officials didn’t tell the public about the theft.  Larry suggests Alan might be able to help as he worked in the city planners office and would know about urban densities and the like.

While they are working on possible placement for a bomb to do the most damage, Don gets another call from the hijackers demanding the money early; Don protests they they need more time and is threatened with an example of what the hijackers will do if their demands aren’t met. Don calls Charlie for his information on possible bomb locations and Alan tells him to evacuate Angeles Square. 

The square is evacuated and teams are looking for the bomb when it is detonated early.  An examination of the personnel and material in the area shows there was no radioactive material used in the bomb.  Don however is starting to question what the real motive is for the hijackers.  They aren’t really making serious demands and they aren’t sticking to their own time tables.  An examination of the businesses in the area around Angeles Square leads the team to an art restoration facility which on further investigation has been robbed of close to $100 million is art.

Don’s team finds the art theft ring but not the truck of waste, and none of the three men are talking.  Charlie offers to use a variation on the Prisoner’s Dilemma to get one of the men to talk and give up the location of the truck.  The idea works, one of the men talks and tells Don where to find the truck.  The FBI, DOE and LAPD close on the abandoned factory where the truck is located and find the last member of the team with the truck very sick from radiation poisoning.  After threatening to drop the casks, he surrenders in exchange for medical help.